As part of our series of articles and blog posts from our volunteers, Kate Cooper has written this brilliant behind-the-scenes blog post about the work that went into the shoot for the photos to promote the 1950s Sheringham Park event and the 1940s fashion in Wells. The resulting photos are used on our Festival website, posters, leaflets and on social media. Thanks team!

By Kate Cooper:

Once upon an ominously overcast day in 2016, an intrepid team set out from the sprawling metropolis that is the Fine City of Norwich for the wilds of Sheringham Park.

Our noble quest…? To produce a set of stunning images to promote an upcoming 1950s-themed event to take place in the park’s famously spectacular Rhododendron (hardest word to spell, ever, folks) gardens. The event is due to take place in May, so we obviously felt that a February day darker and stormier than any ginger-and-rum-based beverage (there were actual weather warnings in place) was the best time to capture the magic of a summers evening in bloom… Ahem.

Thankfully, our gallant band doesn’t scare easy. Among the line-up were photographer Alexandra ‘Ally’ Blackburn, aka Lavender Bea, who can shoot a fast-moving bride at forty paces; hair and makeup artist Nutcharin Baxter, as talented as she is tiny; model Charlotte Forshaw, whose superpower is to withstand near-freezing temperatures whilst appearing to enjoy herself and James Shelton, new to the modelling profession and the guy you want on your team if you require emergency nude tights from Tesco, Sheringham…

The aim of the game was to create images with the same feel as 1950s fashion photography. I put together a couple of moodboards to help convey this to Ally in advance of the shoot.

A moodboard of 1950s fashion photography, I really wanted the lighting and colouring of the shots to be similar to these

I love the cheekiness of the models posing in these shots! We used these images to help us to direct Charlotte on the day to recreate similar shapes and poses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked at loads of 1950s fashion imagery for inspiration (you’ve got to love Pinterest!) to put together some outfits for the shoot, but to fully create the illusion of travelling back in time, Charlotte needed the hair and make-up to match. Here were the moodboards I sent Nutcharin so she knew what to prepare for on the day:

1950s hairstyles; In the end we went for a glamourous, screen starlet-inspired hair-down look

1950s hairstyles; In the end we went for a glamourous, screen starlet-inspired hair-down look

1950s make up looks. Winged black eyeliner and a red lip is the iconic 1950s look; think Marilyn Monroe

1950s make up looks. Winged black eyeliner and a red lip is the iconic 1950s look; think Marilyn Monroe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all arrived at Sheringham Park by 11am and were met by Rob, the mastermind behind the 1950s event we were there to promote.

We got straight to work, fearful that the weather would turn against us at any time! Nutcharin set to Charlotte’s hair and make-up while Ally and I scoped locations that were particularly ‘rhododendron-ey’ with Rob Coleman, popping back to drink tea, eat biscuits and allow Ally to snap some ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots.

Hair and make-up in progress

Hair and make-up in progress

Nutch put Charlotte’s hair in rollers to create curls

Nutch put Charlotte’s hair in rollers to create curls

Charlotte’s hair finished, Nutcharin makes finishing touches to her 1950s make up look

Charlotte’s hair finished, Nutcharin makes finishing touches to her 1950s make up look

 

Miraculously, the weather seemed to be holding out as we started shooting. I had prepared several outfits for Charlotte, which we shot over 3 locations.

An original 1950s green silk dress- this was perfect with Charlotte’s auburn hair

An original 1950s green silk dress- this was perfect with Charlotte’s auburn hair

 

Over to another spot to shoot this outfit- which was my favourite! I found it incredible that there were so many Rhododendrons in bloom in February, but according to Rob there are always ‘Rhodies’, as he calls them, blooming somewhere in the park at any given time of year. These ones are an amazing colour

Over to another spot to shoot this outfit- which was my favourite! I found it incredible that there were so many Rhododendrons in bloom in February, but according to Rob there are always ‘Rhodies’, as he calls them, blooming somewhere in the park at any given time of year. These ones are an amazing colour

We bundled Charlotte up in coats between every shot!

We bundled Charlotte up in coats between every shot!

Finally we took my favourite shots (and James makes his modelling debut!) with the couple walking down this path. Charlotte’s pink polka-dot prom dress in the perfect 50s party dress.

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This is what it looked like after Ally worked her photography magic: I absolutely love it!

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I think we can safely say that the dream-team knocked it out of the park with this one…

The team involved were:

Kate Cooper: @bykateelizabeth
Hair and make-up artist: Nutcharin Baxter and @BaxterNutcharin
Photographer: Aly: www.lavenderbeaweddings.co.uk